Planet Iron Blogger SF

January 18, 2022

Randy Lubin

Story Synth Visual Refresh

Over winter break, Raph D’Amico helped me refresh Story Synth’s look and feel. You can check it out at storysynth.org – I love how it turned out!

First up, there’s a sharp new logo:

Story synth logo

We gave the homepage a complete redesign and it looks much more modern and professional than the previous iteration. The new styling carries over to the Gallery page and the new Formats page.

a screen shot of the 'create a game' section of the story synth home page

Finally, we redesigned the in-game “session” pages. The previous and next buttons now float alongside the cards on big screens, and underneath on small screens. All the other buttons now live in a menu modal, accessible from the top of the screen. This is a huge improvement over the cluttered look of the old interface.

Collaborating with Raph on this redesign was a massive treat for me. His process, design sensibilities, keen eye, and deft CSS skills made all the difference – every step was a complete delight!

Over winter break, Raph D’Amico helped me refresh Story Synth’s look and feel. You can check it out at storysynth.org – I love how it turned out!

January 18, 2022 07:52 PM

January 16, 2022

Doctor Popular

The Mootrix

I saw this funny tweet about a farmer in turkey who supposedly puts VR headsets onto his cows to keep them happy the other day.

One of the replies said “He did the Matrix with cows!” and I immediately started working on a photoshop version of Morpheus offering pills to Neo.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present The Mootrix:

The post The Mootrix appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at January 16, 2022 05:42 AM

January 13, 2022

I Like Turtles

New bike!

/2022/01/13/new-bike.html

January 13, 2022 05:00 AM

January 10, 2022

Claire Kao

vollis simpson's windmills

if you ever happen to be passing through Wilson, North Carolina, make sure to stop for a beat at the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park (though Simpson preferred to call the pieces windmills 🌬️)

Vollis Simpson's Whirligigs were designated the official folk art of North Carolina in 2013 ✨

This park was such a special space, a sanctuary of joy. It forced us to stop and appreciate the wind and its movements, take in changes in light, and delight at the never-ending colorful, dynamic details imagined by Vollis Simpson. And the man didn't start making these pieces until after he retired at the age of 60! 

Not that anyone's stopping you and age is just a number and time is an illusion, but it's always good to remember that you can create joy for people at any stage of your life.


Wilson, NC on a late December afternoon  
claire takes pix


by Claire (claire.kao@hey.com) at January 10, 2022 07:00 AM

mrcoles

Claire Kao

some dream things

mood: The Cranberries' Dreams 

My high school French teacher was the most glamorous, passionate, unsparing, and intense person I've ever known (and I realize now has been the template for a lot of how I try to be in the world).
Among the things I remember about her: 
  • She wore a different fragrance for each season;
  • When we studied a passage from Proust's In Search of Lost Time in class, she casually mentioned that she doesn't read new books. Instead, she reads and re-reads Proust's novel every night before she goes to bed, and will continue to do so for the rest of her life; 
  • She told us conclusively that one of the greatest pieces of cinema ever made was The Dekalog (and she was right);
  • There were many celebrity parents at my high school. The only one she was ever star-struck by was Denzel Washington; 
  • She would never tell another living soul about her dreams, because they reveal too much.

That last bit from her prompted my lil teen self to start considering dreams seriously. And this ended up intertwining with my burgeoning love for film, which for a lot of devotees can feel like entering a dream-like trance. Not to mention all of the fantastic films that have been constructed from filmmakers' dreams. My favorite being Akira Kurosawa's last movie before his death: Dreams

This morning, I came across this in my Twitter Timeline:
Posted by Depths of Wikipedia on Twitter; Wikipedia page here.

I had a dream last night that a parking lot was built adjoining to my apartment. My landlord had made my apartment publicly accessible as a walkway to the parking lot, and strangers were walking through my home at all hours. I tried contacting the landlord, I tried rallying support around my cause, but nothing could be done. At one point, members of my family were in my room looking around at my personal effects and making judgments and coming to conclusions about me. Luckily, in my dream, I had a second locked room that no one else could access. 

If this was indeed my Hatsuyume, it looks like I have some grappling with Boundaries, Respect, Personal Space coming up. Not sure what it means luck-wise though, there was no Mt. Fuji, there were no hawks or eggplants 😐.

In any case, a happy 2022 to all who celebrate

Festive display from Delicias Restaurant in Angiers, North Carolina

by Claire (claire.kao@hey.com) at January 10, 2022 04:42 AM

Certainly Strange

Mirror D’Teev

My brain has just completely rotted, I don’t even know what I’m doing anymore I still don’t understand the ship, but Hakeev is in it, so I fully support it

by Steen at January 10, 2022 03:17 AM

Doctor Popular

My Custom Painted Ukulele from Mike Hales

Steen bought me a DIY ukulele for my birthday a few years back. I commissioned my old friend Mike Hales to paint up something special on it before I assembled it together. He did a great job!

The post My Custom Painted Ukulele from Mike Hales appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at January 10, 2022 03:00 AM

January 09, 2022

travis vachon

January 08, 2022

I Like Turtles

Let's go fishing!

/2022/01/08/lets-go-fishing.html

January 08, 2022 05:00 AM

January 07, 2022

Doctor Popular

A list of companies that cancelled their NFT releases

Ten months ago I was planning my first NFT release. Some friends of mine had told me about the technology in late 2020 and I was getting really excited about doing the first yo-yo related NFT, but as I was researching my release I started to hear about some of the downsides of NFTs and the blockchain. The big one for me was the environmental impact of crypto. Ethereum, which runs on a Proof Of Network system, seemed particularly bad, so I decided to cancel my release until the energy issues around NFTs were better handled, but as I kept learning about the technology I kept about the rampant fraud, identity theft, and rugpulls in the blockchain space and I decided to avoid it all together.

I can easily imagine how different my opinion would be if I had just found those things out a few weeks later. I’d probably be more defensive of the tech and shushing naysayers. So I’m pretty sympathetic when I hear an artist or brand announcing an NFT, then getting absolutely trashed by their fans for endorsing that technology. Whats important is how that artist reacts next. A few, like Aphex Twin, kept pushing their NFT but promised to plant some trees with the funds they raised. That didn’t go over well.

Since the NFT fad hasn’t died yet, I wanted to focus on how some folks announced NFT releases then cancelled them after hearing a massive backlash from their fans. It must have been a difficult decision for many of these people, who most likely worked very hard on their projects, but there hasn’t been a single NFT announcement that I can recall going well. Fans clearly don’t want them. By cancelling these NFT releases, the brands have showed that are listening and are trying to earn their fans trust.

Tim & Eric– This was one of the first NFT projects I can remember getting hyped up then cancelled. Their original plan was to release some popular clips from the Tim & Eric Good Job Show as NFTs, including the classic brain-exploding clip that you’ve probably seen in GIF form all around the internet. Their fans pointed out how terrible NFTs were and the duo quickly cancelled their NFTs. This apology from Tim Heidecker is pure class:

Ten Hundred- This one really hits home for me, because it happened at the same time I had decided to scrap my project. Like Ten Hundred, I was documenting my journey into NFTS when I learned how terrible they were. I then started updating my video to talk about why I was cancelling my NFTs, but when I saw Ten Hundred’s “My Art Almost Destroyed The Environment” video, I knew I couldn’t really top it. His video shows how excited he was at the beginning of the project and how hard it was to learn about the downsides of crypto. It’s a great video and led me to sponsoring him on Ten Hundred. I highly recommend watching it!

The Gorillaz- This was one of the first big NFT projects to go bad. More and more bigger brands were hoping on the NFT train and all of them were getting dragged for it. It’s easy to make fun Burger King or Charmin Toilet Paper when they do something absolutely stupid, but when one of your favorite bands tries releasing an NFT, things get personal. That’s exactly what happened when The Gorillaz announced a line of NFTs back in March. This decision was said to be “out of the bands hands” and something the label was pushing for, but fans would not back off. Many cited the band’s seemingly pro-environmental stance as a reason not to touch NFTs. For whatever reason though, the NFTs never dropped. In June Jamie Hewll, a co-founder of the Gorillaz, said the NFTs had been cancelled.

Dune Film (Legendary Entertainment)- Surprisingly, almost all of the examples above took place in March of 2021. That was a crazy boom month for NFTs, and for a wave of NFT scams and plagiarism that I documented in this Twitter thread. I feel like there was a bit of a lull over the summer, maybe because most brands were starting to see the toxic reputation around anything crypto/NFT. I was shocked when I heard that Legendary Entertainment was doing an NFT to promote the release of Dune. I had gone out of my way not to watch any trailers or read any press about the film so I could enjoy it fresh… then the first bit of news I hear is that they are doing an NFT. I wrote about that disastrous PR move here.

As with the Gorillaz release, fans seemed extra pissed since they saw Frank Herbert’s Dune as a having strong themes about conserving the environment. About a week after their announcement, someone from Legendary told a reporter at The Fast Co that the NFTs were “suspended”.

“Legendary’s passion and focus is on bringing Dune to audiences and delivering fans the epic film event they deserve. Anything less than that mission feels counterproductive and not in service of the hard work of hundreds of filmmakers and cast involved in this groundbreaking project. To that end we’ve decided to suspend the Dune NFT program and look forward to seeing everyone in theaters soon!”

Discord- Then in November, the CEO of Discord teased that the company was exploring integrating NFT and blockchain features into their service. Most of the examples on this list have been artists, but this was the first tech company to get backlash for pushing NFTs. It’s worth noting that many of Discord’s users are the same sort of fans who were upset in the previous example. Discord has many strong communities built around fandom of games, movies, art, or other niche interests. These fans didn’t want to see NFTs in their servers. Sort of like Legendary’s NFT exit, this was sort of a non-apology that indicates that Discord is probably still working on this NFT integration, but they are doing it more quietly now.

Realms Of Ruin- Oops, I totally forgot that in October a group of YA authors banded together to form Realms Of Ruin. RoR was pitched as a rich and collaborative story told through NFTS. The project was cancelled 5 hours after its announcement.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2- The most recent of all of these cancelled NFT projects comes from GSC Game World, the makers of the upcoming game, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2. On December 16th, the company tweeted they’d “let the community own a piece of STALKER 2” via sales of NFTs. The backlash happened immediately. If you think music fans hated NFTs, you should see what gamers think of it. Gamers are sick of how game makers are constantly adding new forms of pay-to-play to their games and are scared of the same thing happening through NFT sales. 3 days later GSC Game World reacted to this backlash by sharing one of those “notes” style apologies that youtubers use when they’ve done something really bad, but this one was doubling down on the NFT announcement. 90 minutes later the team announced the NFTs were cancelled in this surprisingly classy apology:

Honorable mention: Lil Nas X and TikTok- TikTok tried jumping in on the NFT bandwagon over the summer by promoting new NFTs from huge musicians like Lil Nas X. Fans hated this announcement and flooded all of Lil Nas’s tweets with anti-NFT comments for weeks. These NFTs never came out and some insiders say the project was scrapped because of the negative backlash. It sucks that Lil Nas X never addressed the issue though. In fact he’s done promotions for some super shady bitcoin ads with CASHAPP since then.

No Fucking Thanks

So what can we learn from this? If you work in marketing and your boss says “NFTs are big… we should make one here!” you should speak up. Save your company from all that bad PR and money washed down the drain. I can’t imagine at this point how companies are still jumping in on this fad thinking their fans will be happy. Legendary didn’t need that extra money. They seriously thought NFTs would bring them good publicity! How crazy is that?

If you did try releasing an NFT and your fans are hating on you for it, look at the examples above and think about how you want to be perceived. You can be like Jason Citron and try the lame non-apology/noncommittal vibe, and have your fans assume you are still working on the thing in secret. But wouldn’t you rather be proactive and listening to your fans? Look at the examples from Tim & Eric and Ten Hundred to see how to handle this with class. Look at the reaction that fans gave when STALKER 2 said they weren’t going to do NFTs. They turned bad PR completely around by just being straightforward about the mistake they made and saying they wont consider it again.

The post A list of companies that cancelled their NFT releases appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at January 07, 2022 06:53 PM

January 03, 2022

mrcoles

Doctor Popular

My favorite games and music of 2021

Happy New Year! There was a bunch of great art that came out last year, I just wanted to make a list of my favorite pieces. I might keep adding to this list as I remember things from last year, but let’s get started:

Favorite Games of 2021

I played some great games last year.

Favorite Music of 2021

I really tried to think of my favorite albums, but it really seems like artists are doing shorter and shorter releases. I really did like the Tux and Fanny soundtrack, which was a full length, but my favorite releases of 2021 were all EPs. So I guess this list is really “Favorite EPs of 2021”.

  • 3) “The Valleys” by Benjamin Mørk, Arve Henriksen (Mørk is one of my favorite musicians and is most known for his “mechanical piano” style of performing. This collaboration with a trumpet player really works well)
  • 2) “Winter, Gesture” by Josh Semans (beautiful instrumental music featuring an Ondes Martenot synthesizer)
  • 1) “From Nowhere to North” by Nosdam + Rayon (for fans of lofi hip hop, Anticon, and the Notwist)
The Valleys by Benjamin Mørk, Arve Henriksen Winter, Gesture by Josh Semans From Nowhere to North by Nosdam + Rayon

The post My favorite games and music of 2021 appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at January 03, 2022 03:30 AM

Certainly Strange

Chibi Hakeev

I have started working on a chibi Hakeev plush doll, I haven’t made his clothes yet but I’m having fun. I gave him a blankie to keep warm while his clothes are being made.

by Steen at January 03, 2022 03:30 AM

January 02, 2022

travis vachon

January 01, 2022

Randy Lubin

Gaming Like It’s 1926

It’s a new year and that means a new round of works entering the public domain!

For the fourth year in a row, Mike Masnick and I are teaming up to host a game jam to celebrate this new content. Come join us at: Gaming Like It’s 1926.

Works from 1926 include:

  • Novels, short stories, and poems by Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemingway, Langston Hughes, T. E. Lawrence, A. A. Milne, and Dorothy Parker
  • Art by Alexander Calder, Hannah Höch, Frieda Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, René Magritte, and Norman Rockwell
  • Films including silents Beau Jest and The General plus the first feature length Vitaphone films with Don Juan and The Better ‘Ole
  • Music by Louis Armstrong, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Al Jolson, Jelly Roll Morton, Victoria Spivey, and Sophie Tucker

January 01, 2022 09:57 PM

December 31, 2021

I Like Turtles

Santa's visit

/2021/12/31/santas-visit.html

December 31, 2021 05:00 AM

December 30, 2021

Randy Lubin

2021 Recap

2021 went by super fast for us! We’re happy and healthy and here’s what our year looked like:

Life

Some of this year’s highlights were when we got to hang out with family and friends once we were all vaccinated. It was amazing to return to in-person gatherings after a long time of virtual and distant hangouts.

Family

My brother Greg and his wife Emily got married in August and it was phenomenal having the immediate family together, in person for the first time in years. Greg and Emily are living in the Bay Area now and we’re looking forward to a lot more time with them!

Another highlight was flying east to spend a week with my grandparents – I got to be with them every day for uninterrupted, quality time and it was super meaningful. Not seeing them has been one of the hardest parts of the pandemic.

Nature

2021 definitely cemented our love of Point Reyes, just north of the city. We stayed up there twice, in a little cottage on Tomales Bay and had a great time hiking and taking in the elephant seals, pelicans, and elk.

Other hobbies

We’ve dabbled in a few other hobbies this year. Avital got into pottery and took a few classes over video chat. With some friends, we did a few virtual table reads of plays. I experimented with digital music synthesis and had a lot of fun learning the fundamentals.

Work

Consulting

My work life has been busy with a mix of consulting and foresight game design (more on that in a minute). I can’t talk about much of my consulting because it’s under NDA but I did get to work with DARPA on SemaFor, trying to detect and deter algorithmic propaganda.

I also got paid to help Amble Studio with their Story Synth powered games which was very exciting for me! Separately I advised a consulting firm on some educational games they were making, in a way that bridged my strategy and game design backgrounds.

Leveraged Play and foresight games

This was a busy year on the foresight games front, though I can’t share all of the details yet.

In the spring we ran our game “Money City” for Mozfest - Mozilla’s annual festival. Participants explored the future of web monetization and payments.

I won an award this summer: Next Generation Foresight Partners: Innovative Methods and I’ve appreciated getting to know foresight folks around the world and talk to them about foresight and games.

I also ran a couple foresight games + creative writing workshops, where participants played a worldbuilding game and then wrote flash fiction. They were a delight to facilitate and I hope to run more next year.

I have several games that are in development – one with the United Nations and one with a non-profit advocacy group. I can’t share more about either yet but keep an eye out for more news next year.

I’ve also continued working on an upcoming Kickstarter game about whistleblowers in a shady government agency but work has been intermittent due to the pandemic and other work taking priority. Hopefully we’ll launch the Kickstarter in 2022.

Avital Tours

Avital had a very busy year with her company, with plenty of ups and downs as we tried to adapt to the shifting pandemic. Ultimately it ended up being a good year but it was a rollercoaster of a year. By the end of year she had launched a bunch of new product lines and brought back in-person in SF and NY.

One of the product lines was a water tasing experience and it was inspired by Avital’s obsession with water this year. She even became a certified water sommelier!

One idea for a product line that didn’t happen was a charcuterie chalet (like a ginger bread house). She didn’t launch it for customers but we did it for her company holiday party.

Story Synth and fun games

I kept working on Story Synth throughout the year, making new games and new formats. I ran a one-hour game jam to show how easy it is to make games and it was a success.

Raph D’Amico and I teamed up to make the Generator and HexFlower formats and they both look fantastic (he get’s all credit for the visuals)!

My brother and I used the generator format to make Æethelred’s Acadmey for Aspiring Heroes – a very silly game about would-be adventurers going on quests to get certified in heroic skills.

I also released Clash at Ikara a quick Story Synth game inspired by the film Seven Samurai. Go check it out if that sounds like your jam!

This week, I’m refreshing some of the Story Synth visuals and the new look should ship pretty soon. I also have some thrilling news about a Story Synth grant that I can’t share just yet – that announcement should drop in just a few weeks.

Unrelated to Story Synth, I wrote about making plot guides for rules-light storytelling games and created Save the Galaxy to show how it could work. The Jewish games anthology Doikayt also shipped this year and I’ve shared my chapter for free online: Jewish Inspirations for Worldbuilding and Adventuring.

I was also interviewed twice about game design – once with Draw Your Dice and once with Plus One Exp.

On to 2022

We just finished our first round of planning for 2022 and it’s going to be an excited and jam packed year.

Also - we haven’t been great about proactively scheduling calls but we always get excited when old friends reach out to chat. Shoot us an email and we’ll get something on the calendar!

December 30, 2021 11:30 PM

December 27, 2021

Claire Kao

~*favorite recipes of 2021*~

Here were the recipes that I kept returning to over and over this year: they were tasty, easy, felt good in the body, made leftovers I could get excited about...
(╹ڡ╹ )(╹ڡ╹ )

That Spicy Chick's Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Cajun Chicken

https://thatspicychick.com/sundried-tomato-pesto-pasta-cajun-chicken/

We initially found this recipe because we had a rogue jar of sundried tomato pesto, and wanted to find a fun pasta dish we could use it for. The blog sounded good to us because we like 🌶a bit of spice🌶. Happily discovered later that the lady behind That Spicy Chick (Lavina Datwani) was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan (!! my people)

NYTimes' No-Recipe Recipe: Steak Tacos With Pineapple Salsa

https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1020017-steak-tacos-with-pineapple-salsa

We picked up the NYT's No-Recipe Cookbook because ya know, we're trying to build up our cooking intuition and make cooking fun and spontaneous, etc. We have had some hilariously undercooked chicken to show for it, but this recipe from the book was our fave: absurdly easy and so, so delicious. I also love corn esquites, so I found a simple esquites recipe online to accompany.

Tasty's Crunchy California Roll Sushi Bowl

https://tasty.co/recipe/crunchy-california-roll-sushi-bowl

This feels very 2014 of me, but I still get sucked into the bird's-eye view cooking videos on my timeline...I came across this one in May and it seemed not only doable but yum?? And it has been both of those things, I really never need to go to a poke shop ever again. Super customizable, I don't eat fish, so I bake a bit of chicken and compile with that instead. y u m m y 

The recipes I'm most excited to try next year:



Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken. This recipe was made for me several times by Peter's mom (in the most loving, tender gesture of cultural appreciation and exchange ❣). The recipe is spot-on, completely transporting me to any given Taiwanese boba shop and their quintessential popcorn chicken 🍗. I've never fried anything before, so haven't yet worked up the courage to try this one yet but plan on it in 2022.

Slow-Roasted Oregano Chicken with Buttered Tomatoes from Alison Roman's "Nothing Fancy". It might be time for me to forgive and forget Alison Roman's blunders from June of 2020. If you're not totally aware why some offhand comments she made might feel hurtful to a person like meeeeee, you can check out this Instagram Live interview with Ziwe (too long, didn't watch: "do you consider yourself the Christopher Columbus of food influencing"). But Peter's sister and brother-in-law made this for me for my most recent birthday, and I've been craving it ever since. Bread, garlic, tomatoes, chicken, butter, bread; it's the perfect meal.

Update 12/27/21

Maintaining Some Normalcy in the Time of Covid 
image.png
https://twitter.com/rumaan/status/1473085423039754241

by Claire (claire.kao@hey.com) at December 27, 2021 07:58 PM

Certainly Strange

More practice studies

Still just doing practice studies……. forever

by Steen at December 27, 2021 08:33 AM

Claire Kao

Keep Christmas with you /

All through the year / When Christmas is over / You can keep it near


wishing that you and yours have the Happiest Holidays and a Happy New Year \( ̄︶ ̄*\)). And wishing that anyone whose holiday plans were disrupted has an opportunity to honor whatever about the holidays feels special to you at a safer, better time

our deco of late 


sleepy and gunchin'
A fiendish Christmas Day puzzle. An artist drew some very fun, spunky graphics over a relatively simple puzzle—we didn’t know what was drawn on top of the puzzle until it was done. The drawings covered more of the pattern than it would seem !!

ending the weekend with the SERIES FINALE (!! 😭😭) of Insecure. Such an amazing, wise, thoughtful, complicated, real show, and such a satisfying, meaningful arc for the characters and where they find love and light by the series' end. bravo, bravissimo 

by Claire (claire.kao@hey.com) at December 27, 2021 05:31 AM

mrcoles

Doctor Popular

Trixel Art Fireplace

I created this trixel art style fireplace animation many years back for a neat public art project in San Francisco. I dug the art back up and created a 60 minute long version, which you can find on Youtube. So if you are looking for a retro style yule log video, you found it!

The post Trixel Art Fireplace appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at December 27, 2021 03:33 AM

December 23, 2021

I Like Turtles

Thanksgiving in Hawaii

/2021/12/23/thanksgiving-in-hawaii.html

December 23, 2021 05:00 AM

December 20, 2021

Certainly Strange

D’Teev

For some reason we’ve all gone feral and now D’Teev is a ship that exists with a ship name and everything

by Steen at December 20, 2021 07:51 AM

mrcoles

December 13, 2021

Certainly Strange

mrcoles

Learning TypeScript and giving up on enums

Learning TypeScript and giving up on enums

December 13, 2021 05:54 AM

Claire Kao

OOTD + supporting indie film

every day is halloween

I put on an outfit this morning that I thought was a feelin-myself, fun-girl, girl-about-town look. Black long-sleeve shirt, gold chain, blue jeans—pretty standard stuff?? But then halfway through the day Peter innocently asked to take a picture of me and it turned out I was just cosplaying the one, the only, ⛰the rock⛰:

IMG_8646.JPG
claire 'the rock' johnson is a good lewk, tho??

I hope my internet-saturated subconscious coughs up this celeb meme next:


in other news, some cool film things to support

two friends of mine are currently fundraising for their short films:

1. Nostos executive produced and written by Gabby Beans
"“Nostos” follows a gentrifier as he attempts to get into his locked apartment after a night out. As we experience his reckless and drunken transit through the neighborhood, the film asks us to consider what “home" really means in an urban setting of rapid development and subsequently, displacement."
Check out and donate here: https://seedandspark.com/fund/nostos

2. Ringing Rocks directed and written by Gus Reed
"Ringing Rocks is, first and foremost, a relationship drama about what it means to try to build a life with the person you love when the ground beneath you seems to be made of shifting sands. Horror elements enter into this love story as eerie exaggerations of very recognizable realities of our world in 2021."
Check out and donate here: https://www.ringingrocksfilm.com/

by Claire (claire.kao@hey.com) at December 13, 2021 03:58 AM

December 10, 2021

Doctor Popular

This is not a place of honor… my thoughts on Kickstarter’s crypto future.

I joined Kickstarter over a decade ago, and it continues to have a special place in my heart. In that time, I’ve started ten projects and backed over 700 others. Kickstarter has always been one of those sites that creators could look to as a trustworthy source of funding for their projects. Kickstarter was one of the good guys in a world full with Spotifies and Amazon.

I read Kickstarter’s announcement about moving their service to the blockchain and was very disappointed. I will not create or back another project until they jump off this cryptotrain and swear to never get back on.

Doc Pop Kickstarter profile

Since the NFT/cryptoart fad appeared early this year, artists have had to deal with more plagiarism than ever before. The nature of this decentralized technology makes it incredibly easy for anyone to steal an artist’s work and sell it for a quick profit, all while staying anonymous. Artists who speak out against this technology often find themselves the victim of targeted harassment campaigns. They often need to lock their social media accounts, or just leave them all together because of this harassment. Whenever we complain, we are told we should have minted our work first, as if that would stop anything. 

Artists hate this technology. Our fans do too. We’re not just talking about NFTs here; we’re talking about a community rife with empty promises of web3, DOAs, rugpulls, and magical new coins, and all of the victims they’ve left behind. This place is not a place of honor.

I’ve read Kickstarter’s statement several times and have no idea what problem they think they are solving by switching to the blockchain, but a decentralized, “trustless”, and code-based escrow service is the last thing their customers are actually asking for. Buyers want more accountability from sellers AND from Kickstarter. When projects go south, they want Kickstarter to step in and help them out. They want stricter vetting to keep out the scams and they don’t have any interest in using dApps or diving into the seedy, fraud-filled world of cryptocurrency.

Kickstarter’s reputation has already been tarnished scammers. Many people are hesitant to back projects because they think they are all scams. Imagine how much worse Kickstarter’s reputation will be when associated with crypto.

Why not spend more time weeding out fraud and building trust instead?

The post This is not a place of honor… my thoughts on Kickstarter’s crypto future. appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at December 10, 2021 01:07 AM

December 06, 2021

Certainly Strange

Transmuter Wand

I got obsessed with the idea of using the Transmuter Wand on Hakeev to turn him into a cat and, I don’t know I think I’ve finally lost my mind or something

by Steen at December 06, 2021 08:39 AM

December 05, 2021

Doctor Popular

The orchestral sounds of Quarantined Beats And Inside Voices

I recently shared a Twitter thread about Quarantined Beats and Inside Voices, an album I made in May of 2020 with the help of some friends. One of the things that really struck me about the project was that up until making it, I always thought I had rehearse in person with other musicians… or at least be in the same city.

So I often found myself saying “I wish I knew a theremin player” or “I wish this saw player lived in SF”. It took being locked up during a shelter in place order for me to realize that I could make music with anyone in the world. Not just guest vocals, but I could work with horn players or cellists from anywhere.

So Quarantined Beats turned out to be one of my most orchestral releases yet, particularly with tracks like “Marble Madness”, “Flytrap”, and “These Times”.

I worked with several musicians on this album, but I just shared a twitter video featuring some of Camille De Carvalho’s parts. Camille played Ondes Martenot, vibraphone, french horn, trombone, and other instruments on QBaIV.

Quarantined Beats (and Inside Voices) by Doctor Popular

The post The orchestral sounds of Quarantined Beats And Inside Voices appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at December 05, 2021 12:12 AM

December 04, 2021

I Like Turtles

Bass amp repair

/2021/12/04/bass-amp-repair.html

December 04, 2021 05:00 AM

November 29, 2021

Certainly Strange

Oakland Hike

Went hiking in Oakland today for the first time in a while, I think it was in or near the Redwood Regional Park

by Steen at November 29, 2021 07:40 AM

Claire Kao

book wishlist


I'm beginning to have a moderate Tsundoku/book-hoarding problem, so I've decided to *stop* buying books willy-nilly and to *start* a book wishlist (side note: isn't it too bad Indiebound discontinued their wishlist feature?). From here on out, I can work my way through my book wishlist only after I've really read my way through my piles. If you have any experience on the above books or different recommendations or thoughts or comments or dislikes or fears or aspirations or concerns or hopes, lmk !!

Aaaand this was my most recent method of tracking my book wishlist before tonight:

long email chain of book wishlist.JPG  
a very long unwieldy replying-to-myself email chain (⊙_(⊙_⊙)_⊙)

do tell, how do you track the books you want to read ????

by Claire (claire.kao@hey.com) at November 29, 2021 06:05 AM

Doctor Popular

Tux and Fanny is a fantastic game!

Christine and I just finished playing a game called Tux And Fanny. I loved it so much that I had to share it with my friends. The game is based on a web series of the same name. It follows Fanny and Tux through an animated world in the style of a young kids show. It has some major Teletubbies vibes, but with a lot of surrealist and dadaist humor. If you are a fan of Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared, you’ll love this.

Tux and Fanny is available on Switch or on Itch (for your PC) and it will only take a weekend or two to beat. The game is a point and click style puzzle game filled with really silly mini-games. None of it is hard though. It’s more about trying to use the mini-games to add to the story. Sometimes the mini-game is literally just walking a character to the right a little bit, but it’s really just using that format to add more depth to the world. The art is great, the story is wonderful, and the music really adds to the whole thing.

I can’t recommend this game highly enough!

I mentioned the webseries, which is great, but I really recommend starting with the game first.

The post Tux and Fanny is a fantastic game! appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at November 29, 2021 04:21 AM

November 24, 2021

I Like Turtles

Visiting Santa

/2021/11/24/visiting-santa.html

November 24, 2021 05:00 AM

November 22, 2021

Claire Kao

a fly on the wall

Does everyone wish as badly as I do that they could be a fly on a wall to everything, all the time?? Maybe not everything, but there are so many closed doors that I'd like to know what it's like behind, so many dynamics I would never be privvy to that I'd like to see for myself, so many dynamics that I am privvy to that I'd be curious to see play out in unexpected, forbidden spaces. 
To that end, I had two experiences this weekend where I got to be a silent, unseen observer of very particular situations/spaces...

1. seeing the play "Is This a Room"

Consumption of art/media in general kind of counts as being a certain kind of fly on a certain wall, but I saw a play today called "Is This a Room" that literally brought the audience in as observers of a private exchange that actually happened. The play's script was the transcript of when Reality Winner was questioned in June of 2017 by several FBI agents about her handling of classified information. Every single um-ah-stutter is captured and rendered, though the pacing/layer/talking-over/pauses have been interpreted.

You find yourself in disbelief that these are real exchanges that happened in a real interrogation, such as this moment of brevity at the height of the questioning:
 
image.png
how was this dialogue not crafted by a cheeky playwright??

This actually happened, and you're getting to hear it for yourself in this play. The flipping between convivial/cordial/casual and menacing/intimidating/coaxing is obvious in the bare dialogue, and the interpretation and mise-en-scene emphasized the power and gender dynamics at play especially as this young woman comes up against the state.  I felt bad I hadn't followed Reality Winner's story more closely back in 2017, but was grateful for this method of seeing/understanding/empathizing with her story.
 
IMG_8227.jpg
Nose-bleedy seats let us look down on the spatial politics of the interrogation 

————————————

2. lurking in a Twitter Space of NFT enthusiasts 

Saturday morning, meandering through Twitter, I noticed a Twitter Space of NFT enthusiasts and hopped in. It was relatively intimate, maybe only 5 speakers and 10 listeners, and every single person in the Space had one of the gutter gang NFTs as their Twitter avatar. I was in a gutter cat gang chat:

https://guttercatgang.com/

I genuinely was curious of how NFT folks talk amongst themselves, what language they use, what drives and brings them together. I was hoping to learn something from the way they talked that could show me the positive aspect to NFTs. Every coin has two sides, right? I didn’t end up being convinced. 

Lately, I’ve been frustrated at how mainstream it has become to co-opt language around mental health and community-building and apply these concepts and words toward money-making, neoliberal ends. I saw a lot of enthusiasm for the word "community" in this convo: a lot of discussion of how welcoming, inclusive, and unified the NFT community is, and in particular, the gutter cat gang. An innocent entered the chat and said she was enthusiastic about NFTs, but was learning, and began to ask many questions in earnest. The conversation was moving steadily, until she asked: "what does the gutter cat gang stand for?". At this question, the previously effusive speakers hot-potatoed the question until one of them took over and, squirming, talked meanderingly about the warm welcome and enthusiasm that everyone in the "gang" has for the "gang". 

I've been reflecting on the lack of an articulated shared common value / unifying belief that somehow still sustains a fanatical devotion to the cause and the group. Maybe this is obvious and has already been said, but this convo made me realize that NFTs are the ultimate late-late-capitalism interpretation on belonging, membership, and community. We, in this NFT gang, are financially incentivized to have enthusiasm for this space and the people in it. We aren't necessarily connecting, sharing, or seeing one another, just making a ton of noise in a stadium in support of our team and seeing the perceived value of our membership tokens go up in turn. I know this chat doesn’t represent everyone who is enthusiastic about NFTs and their reasons, but the fact this relationship with NFTs can exist and flourish seemed very upsetting to me indeed. Stepping silently into the space afforded me a deeper, unfortunately more cynical view, of how things are inside this world. 

Update 11/22/21

by Claire (claire.kao@hey.com) at November 22, 2021 07:55 PM

boosting

got the boost, get the boost!

booster.jpg
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/19/us/politics/coronavirus-boosters-fda.html

————————

Boosting this video (that you've probably seen):

Amber Ruffin.JPG
https://twitter.com/ambermruffin/status/1461870102060535813

————————

a sleepytime boost: 
Recently, on nights where I haven't dropped off to sleep immediately, I've been running through different image associations along the ROYGBIV scale, just different things embedded in my mind. I'm considering it a primer of sorts, so that I'm not totally surprised in the morning by what my subconscious unearthed during the night. 
I haven't seen this recommended anywhere and is not an idea terribly based in science. But I've been cycling through the colors until I fall asleep, and I typically get one or two cycles deep before I'm off...


UPDATE 11/22/21

And here's some fun color trivia:
redbreast.png
https://twitter.com/haggardhawks/status/1462714872219774982

by Claire (claire.kao@hey.com) at November 22, 2021 05:58 PM

Certainly Strange

Community Music Center

So string orchestra and ensemble playing had been put on hold for quite a while due to the pandemic. But with masks and vaccines required, we have been able to start rehearsing again, and we just had our first concert in over 2 years!

by Steen at November 22, 2021 08:23 AM